Visitors abuse National Parks

rubbish_at_national_parksKARIBA The number of visitors coming to Zimbabwe is steadily increasing, especially to the National Parks, wildlife and wilderness areas. (Pictured: Rubbish dumped on the shores of Lake Kariba)

But nobody wants to visit Kariba or the Zambezi valley and find scenes that have been reported recently. Rubbish was dumped on the Lake Kariba shoreline at Elephant Point in the Matusadona National Park; the remains of a fire and burned rubbish was found above Chitake Spring in the Mana Pools National Park; and walkers in both Mana Pools and Matusadona are finding piles of soiled toilet paper and human wastes at popular visitor stopping points.

Reports from Mana Pools tell of massive evidence of ‘off-track driving’, with tyre treads leading far into the bush – the trails sometimes marked by deposits of beer cans and other litter. Tour operator vehicles are seen towing canoe trailers at high speed along the game viewing tracks, and insensitive drivers tear through Nyamepi campsite raising huge clouds of dust, with no consideration at all for other visitors.

The Matusadona shoreline is covered with plastic flotsam and jetsam – probably emanating mostly from kapenta fishing rigs. Here, too, are the remains of illicit fires on the banks, the ashes – and beer cans – left in situ. Also reported are houseboats running generators until late at night (the rules insist on a 6.00pm turnoff), and music audible at a distance of 3-4km (prohibited at any time.)

This appalling abuse of valuable wild areas is totally unacceptable – regardless of who is responsible for it.

Here’s how you can help:

– Download a copy of the Respect the Wild Code of Conduct for Vistors in Wild Areas and share it with all your clients, colleagues or friends who are visiting Zimbabwe.

– Insist on ALL litter being removed from a National Park or other wild area and disposed of responsibly i.e. via urban disposal or recycling systems.

– If you come across other people’s litter, please collect it for responsible disposal.

– Bury all human waste and BURN toilet paper carefully so as to remove all evidence.

– Question your houseboat crew and/or tour operator on their waste disposal policy and insist that they LEAVE NO TRACE. Wild Zambezi

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